Mozilla Retires Add-on Collector, Transitions Personas to Themes
Article by George Norman
On 08 Mar 2012
Mozilla, the non-profit organization behind the popular Firefox browser, announced on Wednesday that it is retiring Add-on Collector, the service that lets you create collections of add-ons and subscribe to collections of add-ons made by others.

One of the reasons why Mozilla is retiring the Add-ons Collector is because only a few hundred people used it in the past few months. Another reason is the fact that only projects that best align with Mozilla’s goals must be supported; and with lots of exciting things planned for add-ons and add-on collections, support for Add-on Collector had to be pulled.


“We have some very awesome things planned for collections,” commented front and back-end developer with the Mozilla Add-ons Team, Gregory Koberger. “If we were supporting the Collector, each feature would take almost three times as long to make happen — we would have to add each feature to the site, the APIs and finally the add-on. Additionally, the Add-on Collector uses the Bandwagon API, which resides on the soon-to-be-retired old version of our site. To keep the Add-on Collector working, we would have to rewrite all the APIs in a new language.”

Even though the Add-on Collector will be no more, it doesn’t mean that you can’t create and manage collections of add-ons. You can do that as most of the features the Collector had to offer are now part of AMO ( Users who have Add-on Collector installed will be presented with a button in the Add-ons Manager; that button will take them to the add-ons site and on the site they will be able to create and manage collections.

Moving on to Personas, you may remember that Mozilla decided to retire the name as new users found it to be confusing. After asking the community for feedback, Mozilla decided to integrate Personas with the Firefox Themes family. “We’re planning to make 'themes' the name for custom visual changes to Firefox, whether through Personas or existing themes,” explained Amy Tsay, community manager for Add-ons at Mozilla. “We think it’s easiest for a user trying to change Firefox’s look to go to a single place without worrying about the difference between a 'theme', a 'background', and a 'skin'.”

In the following months, the Personas website migration into AMO will be complete. When that happens, Personas will be called themes – Personas will be called background themes and current themes will be called complete themes.

Mozilla assigned the name Persona to another project: it’s web-scale identity system previously known as BrowserID. What is Persona and what does it do? As Mozilla explained, it is a collection of components and experiences for all the users who want to manage their online identity in accordance with Mozilla’s values of user control, safety, and convenience.

Tags: Mozilla, Firefox, Add-ons, Add-on Collector, Personas, Themes, Persona, BrowserID
About the author: George Norman
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